Curry-potato soup

We had one of our rare nights out at a local pub. I had curried chicken, which I found a bit spicy — more than the usual tamed-down version and I soon powered through all the underlying rice. To dilute the heat, I ordered mashed potatoes, which were really nice with the curry. I took my leftovers home: half the curry, half the potato, and half of a green salad.

The next night I re-mashed the potatoes with about a cup of water, added the curry, chopped and mixed in the salad, and heated it all in a saucepan. It made a nice, smooth curry soup with greens.

Base cuisine: fruit salad

If you like fruit, you’ll like this. If you don’t, you won’t. It’s an easy, fast, fresh dessert.

Take at least three fruits.

Chop and peel. Splash on a little orange juice for sauce, mix, and serve.

Base cuisine: chicken meals

First, roast your chicken. Then take the meat off the bones and start to make chicken soup.

I’ve taken the rest of the meat off the bones and am simmering bones, skin, fat, and gristle in a large pot with water and a pinch of salt and a dollop of vinegar to help leach the calcium out of the bones. It’s keeping the kitchen humidified. Later, the pot will go into the ‘fridge to cool; then I’ll remove the fat and re-heat the rest, then strain out the solid material and I’ll have a nice chicken stock. To make my favourite chicken soup, I’ll throw in a can of diced tomatoes, a cup or so of rice, and the chopped chicken meat and cook it until the rice is done.

While the soup stock is simmering, you can relax and enjoy a chicken sandwich. I use whole wheat bread and about four ounces of chicken. Some people add butter, mayonnaise, mustard, or the like.

Stir-fried meat with squash and couscous

Vegetables must be ready before you start cooking. You have to watch closely to prevent burning. There’s no time to prepare ingredients once you start.

Butternut squash: use spoon to remove seeds

Ingredients:

* meat
* marinade
* various chopped vegetables
* cooking oil
* couscous (tiny pasta beads)

box of President's Choice couscous

Vegetables:
* one onion, chopped
* wedge of cabbage, chopped
* 1/3 of a small butternut squash, de-seeded & coarsely chopped
* fresh mushrooms, sliced
* several carrots, shredded
* 1 1/2 yellow zucchini, coarsely chopped

mushroom caps, sliced

Overview:
1. Marinate meat.
2. Chop vegetables.
3. Boil water for couscous.
4. Cook meat with vegetables
5. Cook couscous.

Variation: My meat was already well marinated, so I varied the workflow and pre-cooked it in an iron pan that didn’t need watching while I chopped vegetables.

meat simmered in a saucepan

Work flow:
1. Cut about 8 oz. steak into short strips, then marinate it (e.g. in 1/2 soy sauce, 1/2 mild curry sauce).
2. Chop the vegetables and have them ready in little bowls or piles
3. Heat some cooking oil (olive oil is good) in a wok or large saucepan deep enough so that you can stir the contents without scattering them.
4. Brown the meat. Stir to prevent burning.
5. Add the squash, which takes longest to cook.
6. If you’re having couscous, start water boiling, you’ll want two cups.
7. Add the onion, stir it in, and let it soften
8. Add the shredded carrots. Stir often and add more oil if necessary.
9. When the water is boiling, put one cup of couscous into a container (I use a Pyrex beaker) and pour 2 cups of water over it. Stir and let sit for five minutes.
10. Add the rest of the veggies. Keep stirring to mix and coat with oil.
When the squash is soft and the cabbage is bright green, it’s done.
11. Serve with couscous.

Can anyone tell that I’m using up a cabbage?

cross-section of a cabbage

Pasta-ish salad

Someone I could mention used up all the white beans for his pot-luck salad, so I made a pasta-ish salad.

wedge of cabbage on cutting board

  1. Cook 2 cups of pasta (makes 4 cups). I used radiatori.
  2. Chop an onion and a wedge of cabbage and a couple of carrots.
  3. Open a can of red kidney beans and rinse.
  4. When the pasta is cooked, drain . If you’re in a hurry, rinse with cold water to cool off.
  5. Mix  a couple of large globs of mayonnaise, a glug of milk, and a couple of squirts of ranch dressing, and a small squirt of lemon juice.
  6. Mix the pasta with the veggies; add the dressing and mix in.
  7. Salt if you like. I threw in a pinch of half-salt (half NaCl, half KCl).
  8. Feel free to add any other veggies that you like: celery, radishes, green onions, etc.
  9. If none of your guests is allergic to nuts, you can add in a handful of chopped walnuts.
  10. Mix well and serve.

This had a nice, delicate flavour and people said they liked it.

Stir-fried meat and vegetables with rice

You can vary this indefinitely, like soup, by using different meats, different marinades, different vegetables, and different starches.

yellow zuccine on cutting board

Zuccine

Ingredients:
* meat
* marinade
* various chopped vegetables
* cooking oil
* rice

Vegetables:
* 1 1/2 onions, chopped
* a few carrots, shredded
* 2 wedges of cabbage, chopped
* 2 yellow zucchine or other summer squash, coarsely chopped
* 1 green pepper, coarsely chopped

 

chopped red onion in a blue and white bowl

Chopped red onion

Overview:

  1. Marinate meat
  2. Chop vegetables.
  3. Cook rice.
  4. Cook meat with vegetables.
  5. Serve.

Caution: ingredients must be ready. You have to watch closely to prevent burning. There’s no time to prepare ingredients once you start cooking.

Work flow:

  1. Cut about 8 oz. steak into short strips, then marinate it in 2/3 soy sauce, 1/3 mild curry sauce (1 hour or overnight or as long as it takes to chop the veg).
  2. If you’re having rice, microwave 1 cup of rice with 2.5 cups of water (4 minutes on high, then 14 minutes on low power). If you prefer pasta, boil water in a pot and add1 cup pasta when it’s boiling.
  3. Chop the vegetables and have them ready in little bowls or piles.
  4. Heat some cooking oil (olive oil is good) in a wok or large saucepan deep enough so that you can stir the contents without scattering them.
  5. Brown the meat. Stir to prevent burning.
  6. Add the onion, stir it in, and let it soften.
  7. Add the shredded carrots and stir in. Stir often and add more oil or a little water.
  8. Add the rest of the veggies in quick succession. Keep stirring to mix and coat with oil.
  9. When the squash is soft and the cabbage is bright green, it’s done. Serve with rice.
carrot shreds in a small bowl

Shredded carrot

Base cuisine: Not-risotto

I made a not-risotto tonight. I don’t have risotto rice, to start with. Just made some rice in the microwave oven, where it never sticks to the bottom, and then transferred it to a pot and added about a pound of frozen mixed vegetables, a clove of garlic and half an onion chopped up, half a pound of frozen meat, and six strips of streaky bacon cut into 1″ segments. Salt, “half-salt,” oregano, HP sauce, and ketchup so it wouldn’t be too bland. It was not bad and certainly easy to make. I just stirred it a few times. There was just enough left over for lunch tomorrow.